Reminiscences of the Vienna Circle and the Mathematical Colloquium / Edition 1

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Karl Menger (1902-1985), a pure mathematician of distinction, also took an active interest in both philosophy and economics. In this memoir, which he was composing at the time of his death, he relates how all these subjects developed and flourished against the Viennese background (itself described in depth and with affection), and did so despite the political developments of the 20's and 30's, which depressed but did not silence him. He himself continued his work in the United States. The memoirs describe his membership of the Vienna Circle (the scientifically minded philosophers that gathered round Moritz Schlick) for whom he was an invaluable intermediary, bringing them into contact with Brouwer's intuitionism, with the work of the Polish logicians, especially that of Tarski, but more generally with rigorous mathematical thinking. Indeed the other Viennese group described here is the Mathematical Colloquium, founded by himself, whose Proceedings (still read) show it to have been a power-house of ideas. There are also valuable chapters on philosophy and mathematics in the Poland of the 20's and 30's and the U.S. of the 30's and 40's. The memoirs devote particular attention to Wittgenstein (with whose family Menger was independently acquainted) and to Godel, whom he was instrumental in bringing to America. The genesis of Menger's own writings on philosophy is also described and the work abounds in mathematical examples lucidly applied to that subject. This volume (which can now be put alongside the two by Menger already published in the Vienna Circle Collection) gives an unequalled impression of the fruitful interdisciplinarity of the tradition to which he partly belonged and partly created. It testifies both to Menger's power to inspire and to the critical eye he always turned on even the philosophers he most approved of. A brief account of his life is given in an introduction by the Editors (all of whom knew him personally) and his important contribution to t
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780792327110
  • Publisher: Springer Netherlands
  • Publication date: 6/24/1994
  • Series: Vienna Circle Collection Series, #20
  • Edition description: 1994
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 276
  • Product dimensions: 0.75 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 6.14 (d)

Table of Contents

Karl Menger's Contribution to the Social Sciences - A Note by Lionello Punzo
Editor's Note on the Text
I The Historical Background 1
II The Cultural Background 8
III The Philosophical Atmosphere in Vienna 18
IV Why the Circle invited me. The Theory of Curves and Dimension Theory 38
V Vignettes of the Members of the Circle in 1927 54
VI Reminiscences of the Wittgenstein Family 74
VII Ludwig Wittgenstein's Austrian Dictionary 83
VIII Wittgenstein's Tractatus and the Early Circle 89
IX On the Communication of Metaphysical Ideas. Wittgenstein's Ontology 104
X Wittgenstein, Brower, and the Circle 129
XI Discussions in the Circle 1927-30 140
XII Poland and the Vienna Circle 143
XIII The United States 1930-31 158
XIV Discussions in the Circle 1931-34 174
XV The Circle on Ethics 178
XVI Moritz Schlick's Final Years 194
Memories of Kurt Godel 200
Index of Names 237
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